Corporate dealmakers emerge from pandemic hibernation

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NOTHING EPITOMISES the animal spirits that drive capitalism as neatly as mega-mergers. As covid-19 spread, companies appeared to be practising the corporate version of social distancing: seldom since the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007-09 had takeover activity been so subdued. Now dealmakers are slowly emerging from lockdown.

A spate of deals this month suggests that bankers and lawyers specialising in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) may want to hold off booking summer holidays. On July 20th Chevron announced it would be paying $13bn for Noble Energy, a smaller oil-and-gas rival. A day later Adevinta, a Norwegian company, said it would extend its classified-ads empire by snapping up a unit of eBay worth $9.2bn. A week earlier Analog Devices agreed to pay $19.8bn for Maxim Integrated, another chipmaker.

That is quite a change from the first half of the year. A weak start to 2020 at first looked like a blip in an otherwise bullish M&A cycle going back to 2014...



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